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Born in Denver
Hi PJ –
You ask a great question.
Are the students graduating from Steamboat Spring High School ready for college level work? According to the Colo. Dept. of Higher Ed., of the 83 SSHS students entering 2 or 4-year state schools in the fall of 2011, 31% or 26 students were identified as needing remedial support in at least 1 or more subject areas. The count those required to take a remedial classes
(Some students were identified as need support in more than one subject) For the past 3 years (2009-2011) the yearly average has been in the 31 to 33% range each year.
The statewide average is 40%.
Hi Stuart –
Employee turnover is expensive and it is particularly expensive in senior management positions. An estimate of that expense needs to be disclosed to City Council and the taxpayers at the beginning of the recruiting process. After the hiring process is completed it should be relatively easy to give an accounting of the expense. This is not an unreasonable request.
The City Manager has the responsibility to find the most qualified candidate. As a part of the recruiting process the City Manager should disclose to City Council in some form of rank order what the core competencies they are seeking. This is particularly important if the City Manager feels a change in direction and/or focus in a particular department within the city is necessary. That is the type of discussion that should happen and should be well understood by City Council. . This is not an unreasonable request.
It is not the City Council’s role to second guess or micro manage the City Manager as they go about the recruiting and hiring process. However, they need to know why one candidate was selected over the pool of others.
The reason I think hiring locally is so important – is that with the exception of some positions that require a high level of technical silks – attitude, aptitude and awareness are often the most important characteristics.
I love living here but that is not true of everyone. I have seen major employers in town hire folks that had great job experience and an impressive resume - yet when they settled into the job - they and/or their spouse/family became increasingly dissatisfied with the area. Winters are long and the nearest “official” shopping mall is 3 to 4 hours away. It is not easy to get here, dodging elk at night on Rabbit Ears Pass in a February snowstorm – is something one does not encounter when living in the Nashville metro area. Simply put, the challenges of living here with a local candidate are already well known to them and their family. This minimizes the risk of an employment disruption because of the DNA of this place.
Lastly hiring locally often creates a progression of opportunities for other to advance either within the city ranks or within the community as a whole. Typically it is more cost effective to hire locally – if the local talent exist.
There is a lot of discussion about “Shopping Local”. Without question it has some economic value.
However, greater economic value is created when our charitable giving occurs locally and as employers we hire local talent whenever possible. Often over the long-run attitude and aptitude will trump past experience in getting the job at hand done.
Hi Scott W –
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.
Turn-over data by geographic areas and industry are available. Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics which is done by the Census Bureau using Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data is aggregated by industry sector provided there is enough employment in that industry sector to have statistical significance. It reports only primary jobs – which in this context is full-time w2 employment defined as 35 hours plus per week and 48+ weeks a year.
Below is Routt County’s 2012 Data (Private Industry Sector)
• Employment = 10,058
• Turn Over Rate 15.8%
• Average Monthly Earnings = $3,670
• Average Monthly Earning for New Hires = $2,412
For Government (Federal/State/Local)
• Employment = 828
• Turn Over Rate = 9.3%
• Average Monthly Earnings = $4,178
• Average Monthly Earning for New Hires = $2,511
Perhaps another way to look at this data is to look at it based workforce region. I would suggest turnover data using the Rural/Resort Workforce Region. (Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin & Summit).
For Government (Federal/State/Local)
• Employment = 5,315
• Turn Over Rate = 9.0%
• Average Monthly Earnings = $3,865
• Average Monthly Earning for New Hires = $2,696
It is a wee-bit frustrating that when data at this level is readily available and it is not used.
Local governments (municipalities, school districts and counties) are notorious for comparing wages/salary with entities they view as peers. Although this sounds like a reasonable approach this form of “benchmarking” has the long range effect of artificially ratcheting pay upwards depending on how many entities are included in the comparative sample. Although comparison to peer communities can be useful on many levels, however, in the area of employee pay it is fraught with danger.
A more useful way of looking at this is how Cari suggested it is turn-over. According to July 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistic “local/state government” employers have a turnover rate of about 1.5 per month. Annualized this would be a turnover rate of about 18%. In the Leisure and Hospitality industry sector, seasonally adjusted has a turnover rate in excess of 60%. The average for all industries based on reported employment separations is in the 30% to 35% range.
It is important to remember that folks leave one job for another not solely based on pay. Typically low pay as being the prime reason for leaving is about 12%. To be sure there are pay plays a role but a relatively small one.
According to the study conducted by Manpower, Inc., here are the top ten reasons employees quit:
1. Limited career opportunities (16%)
2. Lack of respect/support from supervisor (13%)
3. Money (12%)
4. Lack of interesting/challenging job duties (11%)
5. Lack of leadership from supervisor (9%)
6. Bad work hours (6%)
7. Unavoidable reasons (5%)
8. Bad employee relations by supervisor (4%)
9. Favoritism by supervisor (4%)
10. Lack of recognition for contributions (4%)
Since personnel cost is 76% of the City’s general fund budget – we need to exercise great caution before making any changes. This is because any changes will be “baked” into the budget of future years.
Hi Jerry –
It is estimated by Employee Benefit Research Institute that in 2012 over 50% of individuals age 55 and over had less than $50,000 in savings of any type. Of this, less than $50,000, group almost 70% had less than $1,000. There are a whole bunch of “boomers” nationally that are hurdling toward retirement that will be 100% dependent on Social Security benefits.
Although this group still views retirement with dignity as a possibility their dreaming; it is going to be nightmare for them personally and for the nation as a whole.
Here is a “fun-fact”.
In aggregate the households in Routt County received retirement benefit from either Social Security and/or an employer provided defined benefit pension of about $38 million in 2011.
This amount represents about 3% of Routt County’s total aggregate household income from all sources.
The comment I made at the beginning and close of the forum today was that I will likely frustrate some people because of two philosophies at my core when making decisions regarding the use of taxpayers’ funds:
1). Great caution needs to be exercised when City resources extend beyond providing essential services and maintaining existing City assets.
2). When resources (taxpayers’ monies) are at stake we must understand clearly what the desired outcome is and how it is going to be measured.
I know there is a perspective that a return on investment (ROI) does not always matter. I believe that it does because real taxpayer dollars are being spent. The City does not own these taxes - the people do. I am confident this will be an ongoing debate within City Council. It promises to be interesting.
I realize that not everything that can be measured is meaningful and not everything meaningful can be measured. However, this is where judgment is necessary to know the difference. Without this judgment it is possible to spend money on problems hoping for improvement and never be sure it made the desired difference.
Hi Mark –
I would agree with the comment that Durango and Steamboat Springs share many similar characteristics. I do not know what the primary service area of the Durango airport is but my guess it would be at least La Plata and Montezuma counties. The combined population of those two counties is about 75,000 (50,000 in La Plata and 25,000 in Montezuma. The population in the primary service area of YVRA = 40,000 (25,000 Routt/15,000 Moffat.)
Without digging too deep into the data below is the airport stats for Durango/La Plata County Airport over the past 5 complete years:
Source: US Bureau of Transportation
Last login: Friday, December 6, 2013
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